The best part of getting your hair washed is undoubtedly the scrubbing. For a moment, that little massage sends all your troubles down the drain with the suds. At Masa Kanai, a salon on New York City's Upper West Side, the experience is a one-hour treatment at its Head Spa, featuring massage, acupressure, masks, and more.
"This hair spa was originally developed in Japan, about 20 years ago, inspired by ancient Asian head massage," says Ritsuko Borges, a holistic hair therapist at Masa Kanai. "Since I came to the United States, to New York, I noticed that many [more] Americans have a scalp concern, compared to Japanese." So, they make the experience a wellness visit, asking customers what they're eating, how they're sleeping, and how often they practice self-care. "I'm using this multi-sensory experience to heal the customer's mind."
What it's like to visit the Masa Kanai's head spa
1. Discuss and analyze your scalp
First, Dove speaks with Borges about her scalp concerns and got to take an up-close look at her scalp through a video microscope. Borges shows Dove that her scalp was pretty clean, but she did have some inflammation that could be the result of a lack of sleep.
2. Lay back and relax
Next, Dove gets comfortable on a massage table with a hair washing sink at one end, allowing her to lay back and relax during the treatment.
3. Gua sha comb through
Borges begins to comb through Dove's hair with her fingers before switching to a gua sha comb, a tool made of stone to help promote lymphatic drainage.
4. Scalp mask
Borges applies a scalp mask to Dove and then put a steam cap on her to allow the heat to work with the mask to clean and soothe her scalp. While the mask does its thing, Borges massages Dove's forearms and hands, focusing on acupressure points to promote well-being.
5. Head massage
Next up, Borges gives Dove a soothing neck and head massage.
6. Wash and condition
Here is the part of the treatment that feels familiar: Borges shampoos and conditions Dove's hair.
Borges uses a beautiful apparatus to slowly pour fragrant water over Dove's hair. The tool sits about a foot over Dove's head, allowing the water to trickle down like it was coming from a fountain.
8. Blow out and reanalyze
To finish the treatment, Borges blow-dries Dove's hair and takes another look at her scalp. She finds that the inflammation and redness that was present before the treatment had decreased.
So was it worth it?
An hour-long experience at the Masa Kanai head spa is $220. Though the service is by no means a necessity, Dove says it's absolutely worth it.
"Like most things in this Wide World of Wellness, stress plays a huge part in our overall well-being and our scalp health is no exception," says Dove. "And today's treatment really focused on mindfulness. That hour of tuning in and zoning out the rest of the world actually helped decrease that inflammation, soothed my scalp a little bit, and now [I feel] so fresh, so soft, so clean."
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